- Showing 2 posts filed under: Victim [–], Forgiveness [–] published between Sep 01, 2011 and Sep 30, 2011 [Show all]
Where are the personal apologies for the Freedom Riders?
There has been only a single personal apology for the events that happened 50 years ago. Elwin Wilson, a former member of the KKK, drew the first blood of the Freedom Ride when he attacked John Lewis as he stepped into the bus station in Rock Hill, S.C. He traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2009 to find John Lewis -- now Congressman Lewis -- and to tell him he was sorry.
Congressman Lewis described the meeting to Oprah like this: "He said, 'I attacked you, and I'm sorry. I want to apologize. Will you accept my apology?' And I said, 'Yes.' And he gave me a hug, and he started crying. I hugged him back, and I shed some tears also."
"He's the first and only person who has ever apologized to me."
To forgive isn't divine, it's deeply human
Listening to a programme on the radio about restorative justice a few years ago, I was reduced to sudden and copious tears by an exchange between a grieving mother and her daughter's imprisoned killer. The mother, though well aware she would never get over the loss of her child, was prepared, after long and painful self-examination, to offer the killer her forgiveness. He, though well aware that he could not undo what he had done, felt he had been given, through the forgiveness of the person to whom he had caused the most appalling suffering, a chance for redemption. His contrition and recognition of the hurt he had inflicted, a demonstration of the compassion so lacking in the commission of the crime, was an essential part of what had made the mother able to forgive.